Learning Abroad Center

Leader Companion Information

Third-Party Participation on Programs

Only the official Program Leader(s)/assistant(s) and students fully enrolled in the program are allowed to participate in education abroad program activities. Restricting participation only to those participating directly in the teaching and learning process significantly decreases the liability to the University, given that all who are engaged in the program are totally focused upon the class, the students, and the events at hand. Further, the University has a policy against giving away credits and education when others have paid for the experience. Read more about the grading and transcript policy.

Student Companions

Anyone who wants to stay in the housing, attend classes and/or participate in program activities must fully enroll in the program. Students cannot bring friends or family members on the program who are not fully enrolled in the program. In very rare cases, exceptions may be made upon request of the Program Leader and appropriate education abroad office. Additionally, in rare instances, students will, in consultation with the Disability Resource Center and the appropriate education abroad office, be approved to travel with a personal assistant or other disability companion.

Program Leader Companions

When traveling with University students, Program Leaders are primarily responsible for the students and the course. Most Program Leaders find that they are working very long hours and rarely have any free time within the program dates. As a result, the University discourages Program Leaders from bringing an accompanying spouse, partner, or dependent(s). The University takes no responsibility for companions.

Spouses & Family

Program Leaders anticipating that spouses and/or minor children will accompany a study abroad program should carefully review the following aspects of the program for suitability: the length of the program, the age of children, the location of the program, the nature of the program, the extent of travel activity involved during the program, the availability of accommodation for the spouse and/or for minor children, and the impact of the presence of the spouse and/or minor children on the program. The appropriate education abroad office must be consulted to determine what, if any, activities companions can reasonably participate.

Where Program Leaders bring companions, they will not be considered participants of the program. A spouse or partner will have no responsibilities on behalf of the University of Minnesota (e.g. taking roll, monitoring tests, managing program funds, grading, etc.).

Minor children of the Program Leader may travel with the group only if another adult travels with them to provide supervision. Hiring participating students for childcare purposes is not acceptable. Doing so creates a dual relationship between professor and student, with potential for conflict of interest.

Grandchildren, nephews, and nieces who are not a Program Leader's legal dependents are not considered dependents, but rather extended family. They are not permitted to accompany the program unless they are enrolled as students in the program.

Insurance & Accommodations

All companions must receive the same mandatory insurance that students and program leaders carry. The coverage is at the cost of the program leader and separate from the program budget.

Companions may share the Program Leader’s accommodation, provided that the cost is based on the room, and not per person. Additional rooms and per person costs are the responsibility of the Program Leader.

Companions must pay for their own transportation, meals and all other costs. These expenses cannot be incorporated into the study abroad program budget, and they cannot be part of any reimbursement request or invoice that is submitted to the University. Any non-refundable expenses for cancellation of arrangements made on behalf of Program Leader companions will be the sole responsibility of the Program Leader. This information must be made transparent for all those involved in the program, especially the students, so there is no misunderstanding that student program fees are subsidizing non-participants.

The primary responsibility of the education abroad office is to make all arrangements for the program. Additional arrangements to accommodate Program Leader's companions may not be possible. The Program Leader may need to, for example, book their own housing if the program housing won’t meet their family needs. Additionally, the Program Leader may have to pay a premium for any such services that the education abroad office or partner is able to provide in support of companions.

Companions cannot, in any way, impair the operation and administration of group activities associated with the program or otherwise infringe on other program participants. Companions must be listed on the Companion Information Form and each companion must complete the Companion Acknowledgement and Waiver prior to departure. Contact the Learning Abroad Center for more information or to complete the required processes.

Required Forms

Visit this page to obtain the required forms: 

Companion Information Form
Companion Acknowledgement & Waiver
Dependent Insurance Enrollment Form